Green products aren’t succeeding the way we had hoped they would back when we started the Green Marketing Coalition in 2008. That has meant that, for many companies, a green approach to marketing has fallen by the wayside. Part of the reason may be the recession. In many situations, being green comes at a price. That’s the answer consumers give for their unwillingness to seek out green products.
Here’s another angle: Marketers haven’t done their job to let consumers know why they should pay more. Marketers, of all people, know that price is not the only factor in buying decisions – often it’s not even the biggest factor.
In a recent National Geographic News article, this issue was highlighted:Part of the problem is that in the U.S. and many countries, there is a lack of good information and trusted sources regarding green products that consumers can turn to, said Thomas Dean, of Colorado State University’s College of Business . . . ASU’s Darnall agreed. “How do we know that one product is greener than another? Right now, in our current marketplace, we can’t,” Darnall said.
Marketers can and should be able to give this information to consumers. Of course, another part of the problem is that marketing is all about encouraging consumption. We marketers need to overcome some cognitive dissonance in order to help the brands we promote become better trusted.
For our part, we believe companies need to follow their better nature as far as possible – because sooner or later people will come back to this issue. When they do, we shouldn’t be caught flat-footed.